A close friend of Qamo Matela who is accused of the murder of his wife ’Mahlompho Matela says the deceased had bruises on the face and signs of assault when he took her to hospital before she later succumbed in another hospital in South Africa.
Sept. 22, 2022
3 min read
Friend claims he chided accused for wife’s assault
High Court judge, Justice Tšeliso Mokoko
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Lekhooa Monaleli was in the High Court this week where he was testifying against his accused friend Matela.
Evidence before court shows that ’Mahlompho died on September 11, 2021 after she was brutalised by her “abusive” husband.
Prior to that day, Monaleli told the court how he received a phone call from the accused who needed assistance, saying his wife was not well.
“When I arrived at their residence in Ha Mabote, Maseru, I found the couple in the bathroom both sitting on the floor, the accused was holding his wife who was clearly unwell,” the court heard.
Monaleli said his friend who looked agitated asked him to help him carry his wife to the car as she was unable to walk on her own.
“While waiting for Matela to fetch some of his wife’s personal belongings before we took her to hospital, I realised she had bruises on the right side of her face, forehead and one of the eyes,” he said.
His conclusion, the told the court was that the woman had been assaulted.
He added: “While waiting at Willies Hospital in Khubetsoana for Matela who had gone inside the hospital, I asked ’Mahlompho why had not sought help before. She told me that her husband had choked her earlier after they had argued since 4am.”
He said later that day after ’Mahlompho was discharged from hospital, he drove the couple back to its home.
After he dropped them off, he sent Matela a WhatsApp message to express his displeasure at the way he treated his wife.
“I warned him that I would not let the matter go and we needed to talk at length about it. The following day I drove back to their home, this time with my wife, we wanted to know how ’Mahlompho was holding up.
“But Matela refused to let us see her, saying that she had taken her medication and was sleeping. Later when I phoned, he said she was still sleeping.”
On Monday when the two friends met, they discussed the assault and Matela confessed to having assaulted his wife on Friday not Saturday like Monaleli had assumed.
“He claimed that during a long argument they had, his wife said he was talking rubbish, adding he assaulted her to make her submissive,” he said.
The witness said he later apologised to ’Mahlompho on behalf of his friend in a bid to bring peace between the fighting couple.
That Wednesday he went back to the couple’s home to see how they were doing and ’Mahlompho complained of fatigue.
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“The following day, a very anxious Matela phoned, saying his wife had collapsed and he needed assistance. I could not help as I was busy with other stuff but I later learnt that ’Mahlompho had been admitted at Maseru Private Hospital before she was referred to another hospital in South Africa for scanning procedures.”
The court heard how that Friday Monaleli drove ’Mahlompho’s sister, Rorisang Mofolo, to the Bloemfontein Hospital where she (’Mahlompho) later died.
After her passing, both the Mofolo family (’Mahlompho’s maiden family) and Matela’s were engulfed in a bitter legal battle over the right to bury the deceased.
The case attracted a lot of public interest and activism against gender-based violence.
The Mofolo family contended that the Matela’s did not have the right to bury their daughter because he was responsible for her death.
The case continues before High Court judge, Justice Tšeliso Mokoko.